THE WIDER CHINA OPENS ITS DOOR THE HIGHER EXPRESS CARRIERS FLY

THE WIDER CHINA OPENS ITS DOOR THE HIGHER EXPRESS CARRIERS FLY

As China continues to open its doors to foreign investors, air express carriers will glean significant business, said Joseph McCarty, a senior vice president at Federal Express Corp. of Memphis.

"There are two phases to the Chinese market: developing the traditional air freight market, which is starting already, and developing a true express freight market, which should be happening in two years or less," Mr. McCarty said.Indicators point to the express market in China being lucrative, Mr. McCarty said.

"Foreign investment in China is all in the high-value goods such as electronics and avionics," that are express shipping companies' stock in trade, he said.

To take early advantage of China's infant express shipment market, FedEx acquired Evergreen International's all-cargo route authority to serve the country this spring.

The U.S. Transportation Department has given its blessing to the sale, and Mr. McCarty said he expects the Chinese to approve the transfer "within a matter of weeks."

As soon as the company receives permission from China, it will begin flying one flight a week to Beijing and a second to Shanghai. At that point, FedEx will be the only U.S. cargo carrier with scheduled services to and from China.

Evergreen's route authority included a total of four weekly flights to China. But FedEx, United Airlines and Northwest have been prevented by China

from inaugurating new services there.

Saying that the aviation bilateral is unbalanced in favor of U.S. carriers, the Chinese are asking the United States to defer implementation an seven additional flight frequencies for the three carriers - including an additional two routes for FedEx.

The flights were scheduled to take effect earlier this spring.

The DOT is continuing to discuss the issue with China but has not yet been able to persuade them to allow the flights to begin, a DOT official said.